Keene's early press sinks Lady Tigers in district opener

Travis M. Smith Managing Editor | @travis5mith
The Lady Tigers won nearly all of the hustle categories in Tuesday's district opening loss. Glen Rose outrebounded Keene 38-12 and collected eight steals.

GLEN ROSE -- The final score did not reflect it, but if the Lady Tigers continue to play as physical and fast as they did in Tuesday night’s 44-34 home loss against Keene, they are going to win a lot more games than they lose over the coming weeks.

Keene’s full-court pressure and physicality gave Glen Rose fits early on and the five-point first quarter showing proved just as much. But even with bodies flying across the hardwood, the Lady Tigers continued to outhustle the Lady Chargers to loose balls and rebounds, and were able to outscore their opponent 30-29 after the first five minutes of the first quarter.

Head coach Sheree Hill and her team talked about the hole they dug themselves – and begun to dig out of – during the half, but the predicament itself was not one the coach was particularly pleased with.

“We were fighting back and doing things right [after the first quarter], but that has to be done for four quarters,” said Hill following Tuesday’s district opener. “I am not a patient person, and I want them to reach their potential and I want them to reach it now. […] I am sure that when I go back and watch film that there will be things that I liked, but that first quarter I definitely did not like.

“I am proud of their hustle, but we have got to play harder, we have got to play smarter and we can’t give them a quarter. Yes, I am normally always proud of their hustle, but hustle does not put points on the scoreboard. When we don’t know who our man is or where their best player is [on the court] after we have talked about it all week, those are the things that frustrate me.

“We had a chance to win the ballgame, but we did not play smart.”

Unfortunately, not only is the loss its fourth straight, but it also puts (4-7, 0-1) Glen Rose in an early hole in District 11-3A play which features (13-1, 1-0) No. 1 Brock, (14-5, 1-0) Keene, (3-5, 1-0) Grandview and (9-4, 0-1) Peaster.

“We had Keene tonight, we have Millsap Friday, it is the week of final exams, a week before Christmas break and some of these girls haven’t had a break in a while,” Hill continued. “We can make all of the excuses we want to, but I am not an excuse maker. We have to get the job done.”

As a team, the Lady Tigers outrebounded the Lady Chargers on the offensive (13-3) and the defensive glass (25-9) by a staggering 26 boards (38-12). Glen Rose also collected eight steals, but coughed up 18 costly turnovers.

Jaylan Evans led the Lady Tigers with a game-high 12 points on 63-percent shooting (5-8). She also collected a team-high four steals to go with her three rebounds. Sophomore Laiken McAnear battled in the paint throughout the night and grabbed a team-high nine rebounds to go with her three points.

Ally Andress added six points to the team’s total, Sydney Lozier five points, Presley Grace and Sabrina Watson matched McAnear’s three, and Brittany Miller rounded out the offense with two points.

Hill and her Lady Tigers will have to right the ship in a hurry. The Lady Tigers hit the road for their second district tilt of the season, on Friday, Dec. 18 at Millsap with a tipoff yet to be determined.

The game

Presley Grace’s two free throws a little over one-minute into the first quarter got the Lady Tigers’ and the game’s scoring started. Keene scored the next eight points, thanks largely in part to its suffocating full-court pressure, before Sydney Lozier was able to get a jumper from the free throw line to find the bottom of the net.

Lozier added Glen Rose’s third free throw between a Keene three-pointer and layup to send the Lady Tigers into the second quarter trailing 13-5.

A Lozier pass up court to Brittany Rosentreter led to the latter’s assist to Jaylan Evans on the low block for the first score on the second quarter. After a Glen Rose timeout and 5-2 Keene run, the Lady Tigers finally broke the Lady Chargers’ press cleanly.

Evans collected an offensive rebound on an open Glen Rose shot in transition and bucketed an easy put-back layup with under a minute to play in the second.

Andress added a basket just before the half after the Lady Tigers again found a hole in the Lady Chargers’ physical press. However, five-quick Keene points sent Glen Rose into the locker room with a nine-point deficit in which to come back from, 22-13.

Sabrina Watson split a pair of free throws after Keene opened the third quarter with a basket and Andress took full advantage of a Lady Chargers’ turnover in the backcourt with an easy layup. Three more Lady Chargers’ turnovers led to a layup by Andress and two more from Evans to close the once double-digit Keene lead to five, 28-23 with 2:35 to play in the third quarter.

Two Miller free throws kept the lead at five as the third quarter dipped under two minutes and an Andress put back of Evans’ second-end of her one-and-one attempt closed the deficit to two points, 30-28.

Despite two late baskets, the Lady Tigers outscored the Lady Chargers 15-12 to close the nine-point deficit to six as the teams headed into the final eight minutes of regulation.

Down 36-30 with 4:35 to play in the fourth quarter, Evans found the bottom of the net on a step-back three from the right wing to cut the Keene lead in half. Unfortunately, dreams of one of the more impressive comebacks of the year were quickly dashed.

Four-straight Keene points gave the Lady Chargers another seven-point lead. The two teams traded a free throw, and Keene held its lead, 41-34, with 1:25 left on the clock and Glen Rose in possession – turnover.

Three more Lady Chargers’ points down the stretch handed Glen Rose the 44-34 home loss.